First spotted last Tuesday by hikers, wildlife biologists and game wardens from the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, they set up cameras and patrolled the area daily to find the emaciated female. Success was achieved yesterday when she was found by the team(s) and immediately brought to the Oakland Zoo for much needed medical treatment and rehabilitation.
OAKLAND, CA., April 15, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Already named ‘Rose’ by her caregivers at the Oakland Zoo, the four- to five-month-old female was found in critical condition just in time upon arrival at the hospital zoo vet about 3 p.m. on Sunday, according to veterinarians at the Oakland Zoo. Extremely emaciated, Rose weighs only 8.8 pounds, and at her estimated age, a healthy mountain lioness should weigh around 30 pounds.
“Based on her initial examination, it appears she hasn’t eaten in weeks. She is excruciatingly thin. To survive, her body has resorted to consuming her own muscle mass. She also suffers from extreme dehydration and her temperature was so low she couldn’t even be read. But she survived her first night, which was critical. We can already tell that she has a fiery spirit and an obvious will to live, and we are grateful for that,” Oakland’s vice president of veterinary services told Zoo, Doctor. Alex Hermann.
Originally spotted by hikers last Tuesday at Thornewood Open Space Preserve in San Mateo, which is part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, wildlife biologists in Midpen contacted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in a joint effort to find the elusive little orphan to save her. Cameras were installed in the area and daily patrols were carried out. The cub was spotted again on Friday using the cameras, but by the time wildlife biologists from both agencies arrived and searched, the cub was missing. Finally, yesterday a wildlife biologist and ranger from Midpen, along with two wildlife biologists from CDFW, Garrett Allen and Megan Senorlocated and retrieved the cub, bringing her to the Oakland Zoo where the veterinary team stood ready to receive her and administer immediate medical treatment.
Now receiving round-the-clock care at the Oakland Zoo, Rose, in addition to starvation and dehydration, was covered in fleas and ticks. Blood tests show a very low red blood cell count. dr. Ryan Sadler of the Oakland Zoo states that if her red blood cell count remains low, the plan is to give Rose a blood transfusion, using one of the zoo’s previously rescued mountain lions, now a permanent resident and healthy adult, as a donor. Daily blood tests are administered to monitor her, as well as her weight and other vital parameters.
For now, vets are cautiously optimistic about Rose’s recovery. Currently, she is receiving intravenous fluids and hydration, to avoid refeeding syndrome. For now, her healthcare team is bottle-feeding her small amounts of formula several times a day. Dr Sadler also reported that she had eaten meat this morning and was alert – signs of hope that she will continue to gain strength and recover in the weeks to come.
Although they searched, Midpen and CDFW could not locate the baby’s mother, confirming that she is indeed an orphan. The teams are also looking for possible siblings of Rose. None have been seen so far.
“We appreciate the hiker and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District team alerting us to the mountain lion cub and its condition. The Santa Cruz Mountains provide good habitat for mountain lions, but it is rare to see a mountain lion as they are elusive creatures. If you see a mountain lion, do not approach it. Adult animals, when hunting prey, may leave their offspring in a safe place for up to several days at a time. Seeing a young animal by itself does not indicate that it is an orphan and the intervention is appropriate,” said the CDFW biologist. Garrett Allen.
If all goes well with Rose’s recovery over the next few months, she will unfortunately not be able to be released into the wild. Cubs stay with their mother for up to two years, learning to hunt and survive on their own. The Oakland Zoo and CDFW will work together to find Rose a good home, likely at another zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This is the eighteenth orphan mountain lion cub the Oakland Zoo has received and rehabilitated from the CDFW since 2017. For three of the eighteen, ColomaToro and Silverado, there was space available at the Oakland Zoo for them to stay permanently. They can be seen daily by the public on the California Trail section of zoos, often sharing a large hammock together, showing their close bond.
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IN REGARDS TO OAKLAND ZOO AND THE CONSERVATION SOCIETY CALIFORNIA:
The Oakland Zoo, home to more than 850 native and exotic animals, is managed by the Conservation Society of California (CCS); a non-profit organization that leads an informed and inspired community to take action for wildlife locally and globally. With more than 25 conservation partners and projects around the world, SCC is committed to educating and saving species and their habitats in the wild. The Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the national organization that sets the highest standards of animal welfare for zoos and aquariums. .
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SOURCE Oakland Zoo